Birding The Lune Estuary The Forest Of Bowland And Beyond......................................................................MED GULLS - 2 OF 4 - CONDER POOL 23 SEPT PETE WOODRUFF

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Picture Gallery.

The header image is a 22 year old from my file labeled 'Golden Oldie Birds'. The Long-billed Dowitcher at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve in October 1998, courtesy of the late John Leedal. 

Whilst I plan my next bid for freedom, I selected a few piks taken over the years, but don't expect any world beating images, they only just got past quality control.

1.   Snow Bunting Plover Scar

2.   Whinchat Newby Moor N.York's

3.   Spotted Flycatcher Bowland

4.   Wheatear Bowland

5.   Black Redstart Fluke Hall

6.   Eastern Black Eared Wheatear Fluke Hall

7.   Skylark Fluke Hall

8.   Blackbird Home Garden

9.   Little Ringed Plover Conder Pool

10. Turnstone Plover Scar

11. Snipe Conder Pool

12. Brent Geese Heysham

13. Little Owl Roeburndale

14. Purple Heron Eagland Hill


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My records to date now stands at 95 Stonechat since I found 18 on Caton Moor 2 months ago on 26 August, mostly in Bowland, with some records taken from local websites. This is a good indication that the species has had a good breeding season in 2020, though I tried twice without success to contact the RSPB, to find out what their records - if any - showed to get a handle on numbers in Bowland.

Black-tailed Godwits. 

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I was grateful to Howard Stockdale for the video of the Black-tailed Godwits, including this one ringed OL-RZ, Arnessysla, Austurey, Iceland, 4 July 2012. The bird has collected 58 sightings, none of which were in our area until this one at Cockersand Wednesday 20 October. Otherwise it favoured Essex and Merseyside, and was seen twice back in Iceland in June 2013 and August 2018.


Below is an excellent post I copied from a website which touched on one of my favourite subjects on conservation and farming practices. I'm also aware of some ongoing local and bigger conservation issues which I intend to follow. 

'34 Fieldfare were a welcome sight this morning, these Scandinavian travelers on their annual visit to forage on the winter berries, however the dreaded hedge munching machine had other ideas and has now destroyed all the food that was lying in wait to keep our visiting Fieldfare well fed along with many others that would have foraged on same, no need to look very hard for the demise of wildlife when this goes on country wide, modern farming practices indeed' 

Sunday, 18 October 2020

More Moorland Ventures.

I had another venture to Bowland again this week, a very enjoyable venture, they always are.

If I'm doing revisits of the five moorland locations of Caton Moor/Harrisend/Catlow/Hawthornthwaite/and Birk Bank, the 75 Bowland Stonechat record now has to stand, but I need to visit again to establish the number of wintering birds.

On Thursday Harrisend produced 5 Stonechat, ten short of the count on 1 September. Also a decent count of 8 Reed Bunting, a Blackbird and Robin were the only other birds noted. Later on Hawthornthwaite Fell, I found no Stonechat despite a count of nine on 5 October, but noted 9 Red Grouse

At Birk Bank on Friday, 4 Stonechat compared to 14 seen on 21 September. Also noted, 5 Red Grouse, and a Raven and Buzzard overhead. Off Rigg Lane, a mix of c.40 Fieldfare and Redwing seen.

The Preston Willow Tit.

I reckon Martin Jump was well pleased to find a smart Willow Tit on the feeders on his allotment at Haslam Park in his home town of Preston last Monday 12 October....Beat that for a garden allotment tick! 

Martins record was soon followed four days later, when Malcolm Evans found another Willow Tit at Carr House Green Common on 16 October, as the crow flies about six miles away from Haslam Park.

Only the Turtle Dove is more imperiled than the Willow Tit as Britain's fastest declining passerine. The RSPB launched a national survey that is currently at the midway point. At this point the survey has revealed that the breeding population of the Willow Tit in Lancashire is similar to that of 10 years ago, bucking the national steep downward decline. Ref:Steve White/Lancashire Bird Report 2019

Thanks to the late Geoff Gradwell for his image of the Willow Tit.

Fungi. Pete Woodruff.

This fungi caught my eye in damp moss on Harrisend Fell on Thursday. It was unable to be specifically identified without seeing the gills, but assuming some colouration in the gills, the suggestion is that it is possibly either Mycena epipterygia or Galerina paludosa

Thanks to Pat O'Reilly MBE at for the invaluable fungi help First Nature 

There's no relationship between my header image and the current post, but it's just a nice one of the Black-tailed Godwits on the Lune Estuary at Glasson Dock in April 2016.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Mid-Week Crisis!....

....well, sort of.

I was grateful to Howard Stockdale for sharing this video with me, it shows the horde on and around the heliport at Heysham at high tideThe first in a series of planned short videos to promote the birdlife of Morecambe Bay during the winter monthsInterestingly, Howard found a colour ringed Knot amongst the mass, marked this year in August at Ainsdale, North Merseyside.

The videos are best viewed full screen.

I enjoyed editing this short video of the gull roost on Red Nab at Heysham. I counted 7 Mediterranean Gulls as I panned through the film. Have a bit of fun and count them for yourself....Go on, do it!


The Turnstones living up to their name and turning over the pebbles at Cockersand. 

Sunday, 11 October 2020

The Weeks Moorland Venture.

I gave Catshaw Fell a couple of hours during the week, one of a few areas I've previously neglected in Bowland. 

The visit was quite interesting, and started soon after I had put the plantation behind me and set off on the track where I met Rob Foster coming off Catshaw Fell, Rob's post at the Grosvenor Estate is in conservation. We had an interesting conversation which of course me being Pete Woodruff, soon turned to the subject of the Stonechat. Rob gave me a list of birds he had noted, but it didn't include any Stonechat, this numbed my enthusiasm for continuing the climb, but I did it anyway. 

As I reached the summit of Catshaw Fell, through my binoculars I could see Rob on the top of Hawthornthwaite, presumably doing the same check for Red Grouse. Meanwhile, Catshaw produced just the one Stonechat which took me an hour to find when I was coming back down later. Other birds of note, 4 Raven overhead, 38 Red Grouse, 11 Meadow Pipit, a Buzzard, and a Peregrine Falcon which I didn't see until I had almost got back to the car by the plantation.

Hawthornthwaite Fell produced three good records, the first of which was another excellent count of 9 Stonechat, pumping up the tally to 75 Stonechat seen in a little over five weeks in Bowland. The second record came with a Ring Ouzel seen distant in flight which soon went to ground.

Red Grouse Hawthornthwaite. Pete Woodruff.
The third record came when I counted 40 Red Grouse, 35 of which were seen together in a flight across the moorland, the highest number I've ever seen at any one time, and brings the total number on Catshaw/H'thwaite to 78 Red Grouse seen on the day. 

The Ring Ouzel. 

This is my fourth consecutive year for records of Ring Ouzel on Hawthornthwaite, and includes a male singing atop of a tree earlier this year on 17 May. I'm becoming convinced the Ring Ouzel breeds on Hawthornthwaite, next year I plan to attempt to find the evidence. 

The Ring Ouzel can be seen on moorlands well into October, with four records in 2019, the latest one being on 19 October at Winter Hill. The mean date is 4 November, but the latest ever Ring Ouzel in Lancashire was of one seen over Darwen Moor on 11 December 2000. These records are sourced from the annually best and most comprehensive report available Lancashire Bird Report 2019

The therapeutic value for this visit to Bowland was huge once again for me, in particular when I came to the water falling down Catshaw Greave with a little autumn gold showing on the 'Ouzel' Oak in the background.

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And finally....

Morecambe Stone Jetty. Pete Woodruff. 

A view of the Stone Jetty at Morecambe last week, with the stunning backdrop of the mountains in the Lake District.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

September Chats.

Having found 18 Stonechat on Caton Moor on 26 August, I was determined to carry out a plan to visit four more of the best Stonechat hotspots in the area during September, to find if Caton Moor was a precursor to something good about the Stonechats in 2020.

So I was off up the east side of Clougha during the week, only the third time I've ever been on this side of Clougha. Truly chuffed once more as I was able to add to the tally which now stands at 65 Stonechat in four weeks.

To note in addition to the 10 Stonechat seen, it was good to hear the Chiffchaff in song by Ottergear Bridge. In the trees leading down to the boardwalk, at least 20 Long-tailed Tit, a Goldcrest, Coal Tit, BlackbirdRobin, and Wren. Enroute to the Clougha track, a few Swallow south, a lone Meadow Pipit, 4 Red Grouse, and a Kestrel.

Dragonflies over and around the bog, 3 Common Darter and 2 Black Darter, the only butterflies seen were singles of Red Admiral and Peacock.

Where have all the butterflies been this year?

Big Butterfly Count.

One theory for a disappointing result, perhaps an unusually warm spring brought species of butterfly to emerge earlier than is usual. This would lead to have only caught the tail-end of the flight period for many species during this years count.

But the truth is, the Big Butterfly Count saw a reduction in the average number of butterflies logged per count of -34% in comparison with 2019, and the lowest average number of butterflies logged overall since the counts began 11 years ago in 2009. One example of percentage of change from 2019 was -99% for Painted Lady, a butterfly I regarded myself as being one of a lucky few to record in our area this year.

Garden Scarcity. 

In our garden on Friday, it was good to see a male Siskin on the feeders. The last two sightings here was, a juvenile 31 July and three days later a male 3 August in 2018. Also our garden Robin (Bob) gave good photo opportunities in the header, and the resident Carrion Crow most of the year, is still around and calling persistently 'krrah krrah krrah' all day long.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Heysham Brent Geese

I quite enjoyed editing this video of the Brent Geese present at the beginning of the year at Heysham. 

The film is a smaller format 1280x720, suitable to meet the requirements of the limit of 100mb upload to Blogger, and therefore loses a little quality. It's a combination of two videos, the first section is of the Brents off Knowleys Road on a blue Mediterranean sea, the second section at Red Nab on a dull day.

It all helps to keep B2B afloat...Excuse the pun!

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